'Blame the Victim' Cries Emerge After Girl's Rape

Town meeting turns ugly in Texas
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2011 12:37 PM CST
In Alleged Gang Rape of 11-Year-Old Girl in Cleveland, Texas, Many Are Blaming the Victim
Anita Ellis, right, whose son turned himself in in the rape of an 11-year-old girl, wipes away tears as Daphne Straughter, left, whose grandson turned himself in, looks on at the March 10, 2011, meeting.   (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Michael Paulsen)

Ever since 18 men and boys were busted in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl, there have been hints of a “blame the victim” mentality emerging—and last night, some residents crossed from hints to explicitly blaming the 11-year-old girl. “She lied about her age. Them boys didn't rape her. She wanted this to happen. I'm not taking nobody's side, but if she hadn't put herself in that predicament, this would have never happened,” said one resident. Many others who attended a town meeting also told reporters the 11-year-old had consented to sex with those accused, the AP reports via the Houston Chronicle.

The meeting was supposedly held to discuss concerns about the investigation, but many in attendance used it to voice claims that the 11-year-old was to blame because of the way she dressed, or to hypothesize that she lied about her age. Others opposed those views, noting that Texas’s age of consent is 17, and that even if the girl did claim to be older, an 11-year-old simply cannot legally give consent. Quanell X, the Houston activist who led the meeting, said he “did not come here this evening to jump on an 11-year-old girl,” but also questioned why the girl didn’t report the attack herself. Earlier, a New York Times story on the attack sparked controversy—click for more on that here and here. (More gang rape stories.)

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